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USA 1925/1942
Directed by
Charles Chaplin
72 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Gold Rush

Setting it in 1898 during the Klondike gold rush Chaplin based his comedy on a real incident of cannibalism and the high point of the film, and one of Chaplin's best-known gags, is when Big Jim (Mack Swain) having already worked his reluctant way through one of the Little Tramp's boots (which was made of licorice for the film), fantasises that Charlie is a chicken.

Chaplin had by this time (the Little Tramp first appeared in 1914) worked out a crwod-pleasing combination of physical comedy and sentimentality and although City Lights (1931) is often cited as the classic Little Tramp film, this uncharacteristically outdoors adventure offers plenty of comic set-pieces, is not so mawkish and, technical limitations aside, rivals any Hollywood backwoods comedy made since.

: There was a 1942 "revival", which is 10 minutes shorter than the 925 original (which was 82 mins) and which features a musical score and a narration which matches the picture and often reproduces or closely paraphrases the actual dialogue, the inter-title slides having been deleted. Although Chaplin wrote both the music and the narration, purists may object, however these enhancements makes the film a more accessible experience for younger viewers who hopefully will not be so inured to modern cinema standards as to fail to enjoy this.




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